Unknown (possibly Spicy Horse)
Unknown (possibly EA or Spicy Horse)
October 31, 2021 (planned)
|Image gallery (39)|
Alice: Asylum is currently a hypothetical video game proposal by American McGee as part of his vision for the series.
Because Electronic Arts is difficult and is very protective over IP rights, Asylum is intended to be crowdfunded. McGee originally intended October 2018 for the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, although it was put on hold. In November 2018, McGee mentioned that the legal proceedings are going smoothly.
For months, McGee has brainstormed the concept of the game, collaborating with artists and fans on his Patreon, preparing art, writing the story/design, etc.
McGee said having EA as publisher isn't necessarily their goal: "We're working to self-publish or publish through other channels. Licensing the IP from EA and developing/publishing independently is the goal." He also mentioned that he intends to obtain permanent holdership to the Alice IP/license, so that he has the creative freedom to do what he wants with the series in the future, such as creating official Alice games, merchandise, a potential book, film, etc., without going through obstacles dealing with EA.
If the crowdfund is successful, McGee estimates Asylum will be released around October 31, 2021. It is intended to be developed for PC, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One if Sony and Microsoft approve. He also mentioned the possibility of Nintendo Switch. However, he also stressed that it really depends on which companies are willing to help with the project - as many platforms as possible is ideal.
Asylum would likely be designed in a way so that it does not contradict the canon established in American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns, nor spoil the plot points of those games. In the most ideal situation, any of these playthrough orders would be fine (note that playing AMR first is highly not recommended as it spoils and builds up on certain plot points):
- AA > AMA > AMR
- AMA > AA > AMR
- AMA > AMR > AA
Part of the game will focus on the treatment (or perhaps more accurately, "mistreatment") of Alice Liddell during her 10-year stay at Rutledge Asylum, and Alice dealing with the tragic deaths of her family in the fire and the loss of her father, mother and sister.
Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, Alice acquired catatonia and was mute in reality for the majority of her treatment (although she most likely could still speak in her mind). She views her "reality" in a very abstract and distorted way, trapped in a warped comatose dream-like world, fighting to regain control of her mind and body.
The game may show flashbacks into Alice's childhood, perhaps the first two novels, a closer look at the fire, Alice's time in Littlemore Infirmary, and perhaps scenes written about in Wilson's casebook and Alice: Madness Returns Storybook.
Alice's age is unknown, although there is concept art of Alice at 13 years old. Asylum may be set over a period of years, perhaps showing events and snippets from all 10 years at Rutledge. Since Alice is a child with a hyper imagination, she probably does not fully grasp the concept of death in the earlier stages. However, even if Alice is 13, then she may still not understand death due to being in a coma.
It is unknown if Wonderland will appear, or if it will be replaced by another world, or hallucinations of the Alice's dream world. If Wonderland appears, then it would retcon American McGee's Alice as her fourth return to Wonderland instead of third. Given this, Asylum could be explained by Alice and Wonderland characters (such as Cheshire Cat) receiving a memory wipe at the end, much like how people often can't remember certain dreams. It would make sense as Alice received brain and mental damage due to the trauma, and also because everyone and everything in Wonderland is an extension of Alice's psyche and subconscious. McGee suggests the possibility of a memory drug being responsible.
Adding to the psychological themes of the series, Alice is envisioned as going through a modified Kübler-Ross stages of grief model: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and, finally, acceptance. In order to fulfill the spot of an eighth (since the Chaos symbol has 8 sides), one will be envisioned as "slumber". Therefore, Wonderland will be extremely affected by this, with each of its domains being influenced by one of the stages.
The envisioned domains and stages are currently unfinalized and there are some discrepancies between the artists. For example, an early vision includes the Hatter's Domain as part of "Denial". Later on, another artist decided Hatter's Domain should be individualized as the "Bargaining" stage. A recent rough draft includes:
- Chaos Core (Burnt house) – Shock: This area will be like a nightmare of Alice's family dying in the Fire. At the start, it will be like a bomb and a fire which will break Wonderland into many pieces, then each area of Wonderland will become an island floating in orbit around the "Chaos Core", just like the planets are orbiting the sun. The "Chaos Core" appearance could be a floating island with a massive crater in the middle, like a volcano, or a sort of inside-out black hole which is releasing fire and smoke and chaos into Wonderland. Concept art shows Alice being incredibly young during this stage, implying the player will control Alice, probably around 7 to 9 years old.
- Vale of Tears/Circus/Amusement park – Denial: Alice will be in denial about the fire. This is probably when the player will gain control of a 13 year old Alice. Characters she encounters in Wonderland during the denial stage of grief will insist everything is fine, or that the loss of her family isn't that big of a deal. This part of Wonderland will be beautiful, wonderful, and "safe". During the game, Alice's objective would likely be to find her missing family members. The realm may contain elements of illusions and delusions, such as Alice seeing images of her house before the fire, or puppets of her family members. However, Alice will eventually be forced to confront what happened due to the absence of her family, and the reassurance the characters provide her with will gradually sound hollow, meaningless and fake. The scenario is envisioned to be Alice being forced into a humiliating circus by the Tweedle twins where she is forced into a silly clown costume. Because a single circus tent isn't enough for a level, there will also be an amusement park. Nurse Witless from Madness Returns may be a fortune teller somewhere in this domain, either in the circus or amusement park. As Witless was implied to be abusive to Alice in the asylum, Alice encountering Witless may be the trigger which snaps Alice out of her denial and come to the truth that her family has died.
- Moon - Although not a "stage of grief", after the circus, Alice is envisioned to visit a Moon shaped with Rabbit ears. Alice may visit the White Rabbit here. McGee envisioned Alice visiting Shadow Alice on the Moon, implying this is where Alice may see her for the first time. Because there are may be two Shadow Alice (one for Rage and one for Hysteria), this may be where Alice defeats Rage Alice. After doing so, Alice may obtain her "fire" supermode, similar to Rage/Hysteria from the other games, and potentially her Ash dress.
- Queen's Castle – Anger: In this domain, Alice will reject the reassurance given to her in the previous domain, and believe she has been "wronged" and that it is "unfair" for her family to suddenly "disappear" and never return. American McGee: "I imagine an interior space of dark/burnt corridors filled with smoke and flames. Pools of fire and jets of flame erupting all around. It would be like walking into the brightest point of pain in Alice's psyche - all recalling the night of the fire which killed her family. An eternally burning building filled with burning enemies and traps, echoes of distant screams... excellent." Alice likely begins to blame the Queen of Hearts for her family's death as a coping mechanism, and decides a visit is necessary to vent her anger at the Queen. After a potential boss fight, although the Queen is still alive, Alice probably resolves her anger issues and some rational talk by the Queen may inspire Alice to find a better solution to deal with her emotions instead of anger.
- Hatter's Domain - Bargaining: During this stage, victims of grief often seek to bargain with a figure, often "God" or a higher power, to make everything better, or give them a chance to see their deceased loved ones in an afterlife such as Heaven. Alice may encounter her envisioning of "God", as children often have abstract reasoning of "God". A possible stage for this is Alice's idea of Heaven, or potentially be Alice reaching her idea of "heaven" or perhaps only its gates. Some concept art imagines Hatter's Domain as this "heaven"-like place, due to its floating nature in the clouds. Another idea is that instead of "God", Alice seeks answers from the "wise" figures in her mind, such as Caterpillar or perhaps the Mad Hatter.
- Underwater/Icy lake/London streets/Looking Glass Railway – Depression: As its name imply, victims of grief go through a stage of depression and melancholy, and often, "emptiness" and a "void". This is probably because the Mad Hatter in the previous domain told Alice that she is unable to reunite with her family. Concept art shows it may begin with an aquatic section underwater. Alice may meet the Carpenter/Walrus here in the aquatic portion. Eventually, this aquatic section may freeze and become a lake. Eventually, Alice would cross the lake and find land. Alice's mission is to likely find some sort of happiness or joy while wandering through this part of the depression domain, which may be represented by toys and balloons as a means of coping with the loss. Art shows the "joy" stuck in a tree which Alice can't access because it's too far up, showing the difficulty that comes with finding joy when one is depressed. Eventually, Alice comes to a surreal rainy nighttime of London streets, likely representing Alice's loneliness that she will have to face reality without her family. Somewhere here, Alice would find the Looking Glass Railway's station which the Mock Turtle manages - his inclusion in the domain is fitting due to his sad and tearful nature. The station acts as the game's "hub", allowing Alice to revisit the previous three domains to grind/level up via fast travel where she could potentially explore new sections of Denial/Anger/Bargaining to visit a few new areas which were originally inaccessible. However, revisiting past domains would be optional, and speedrunners have the option of immediately going to the next domain, Testing.
- Land of Fire and Brimstone - Testing: This stage is described as "seeking realistic solutions". The reality eventually starts to bite and the person realizes that they cannot stay in that deep, dark hole of depression forever. They thus start looking for realistic things that they can do. These may be taken on as 'experiments' to see if doing these things help the situation in any way. As this activity starts to work, at least in some ways, it is found to be preferred to the depression and so the person crawls out of that dark hole. This escape is often done with the support of friends, family and professionals who specialize in helping people in whatever situation this is. As Alice's house is located in this land in American McGee's Alice, her motive may be to create a sanctuary where she can always safely remember her family, as part of memories in her house. However, according to concept art, the Jabberwock will be encountered here, and will ruin her sanctuary.
- Checkmate in Red - Acceptance: During this stage, Alice will likely accept the loss of her family. This may be achieved by Alice talking to the White King/Queen chess pieces, which the series have implied are representations of Alice's parents. While they aren't actually her parents, the way they remind Alice of them can help Alice achieve a feeling of peace. However, concept art mentions the Red Queen will be here, meaning this will probably be where the Red Queen and Queen of Hearts merge, presumably after a huge battle between the Red and White kingdoms. Alice may be greatly injured and put into a coma during the battle due to the next domain.
- Rutledge Asylum - Slumber: This domain will likely be representative of Alice's coma. It would likely be dark, abstract, with indecipherable noises, voices and sounds from the outside world. This domain will probably the stage of the final boss - an idea is the "Wonderland" incarnation of Dr. Wilson, or as McGee said, Shadow Alice, or the other part of Shadow Alice (Hysteria Alice).
These characters may appear and be fleshed out more:
- Alice Liddell – Self-explanatory, as she is the protagonist. She is a curious child, and more innocent and naive than she is in the sequels. She will likely be less sarcastic and have less of an attitude, as Cheshire Cat notes in the beginning of AMA that she has "picked up a bit of an attitude". She is also more vulnerable and less of an experienced fighter, so she may not be doing advanced combos, twirls, blocks, etc., like she does in Madness Returns. The game may show how Alice obtained the Vorpal Blade and learned how to use it. In order to realistically convey Alice is a child, she should use more simpler language, such as "I want to go home" instead of "I desire to return to my residence".
- Shadow Alice - American McGee talked about the possibility of there being two Shadow Alices, one demonic (in order to explain Alice's Rage form in AMA) and one ghost-like (in order to explain Alice's Hysteria form in AMR). He commented that Shadow Alice/Alices is envisioned as being the true antagonist of the game. McGee envisions Alice encountering Shadow Alice on the Moon.
- Alice's mother, father and sister – Given how the entire game is about Alice coping with their deaths. There may be a lesser focus on Lizzie, as she wasn't mentioned in American McGee's Alice, so if someone plays in the AA to AMA order, her absence may not seem strange. They will probably appear in the game in flashbacks or illusions in Wonderland.
- Nan Sharpe and Wilton J. Radcliffe – They visited Alice in the asylum many times.
- Angus Bumby – Given that he sometimes visited the Liddell family, Alice would have vague memories of him, although the game would make him inconspicuous to prevent spoilers. He is imagined as running a toy store by the Looking Glass Railway in the Depression domain, and will act as the game's "merchant" to upgrade Alice's weapons (toys). Bumby's helpful attitude in Asylum would also make Madness Returns more shocking due to his character development in that game. Bumby providing Alice weapons/upgrades may also imply he sometimes gave Alice gifts in reality. Some concept art, however, depicts him around the same age in Madness Returns, when he should look appear a decade younger. However, if Bumby visited Alice in Rutledge recently, then he could still theoretically only appear five or so years younger.
- Dinah – It is possible that Dinah will be shown in a series of flashbacks, given that Dinah was Alice's beloved pet and confidant.
- Rutledge Asylum residents – Likely considering how the game is called Alice: Asylum, parts of the game may be from their perspectives.
- Dr. Grantham - A surgeon who monitored Alice's case during her treatment at Littlemore Infirmary. He is only mentioned in Wilson's Casebook. He lost his sanity and is mentioned as having died in an accident with a surgical implement.
- Cheshire Cat – He is envisioned as being cuter and plumper, and perhaps a bit more kitten-like, although he was called the Cheshire "Cat" in the first novel, not the Cheshire "Kitten". Concept art labeled "after fire" shows him with a mangy form, although this contradicts Alice telling him that he has become mangy at the beginning of American McGee's Alice, unless the "everyone receives a memory wipe at the end of the game" theory is true.
- Mad Hatter – He is envisioned as being non-mechanical, and far saner than in American McGee's Alice, more akin to his personality in Madness Returns. However, he may show signs of increasing insanity through the game. A concept art from Omri Koresh shows that after an explosion in his laboratory hurt his friends, the March Hare and the Dormouse, he blames Alice, and makes himself a mechanical and higher body.
- March Hare and Dormouse – Given that they are associated with the Mad Hatter, they are likely to appear, as they have also been depicted in concept art as being hurt by an explosion in the Mad Hatter's laboratory.
- Jabberwock – Concept art shows the Jabberwock as a hatchling in an egg, as this is a time for Alice's seeds of guilt to be implanted into Alice's psyche and gradually grow and fester. American McGee mentions the possibility of the Jabberwock being a sub-villain (the true antagonist is Shadow Alice), and that killing the Jaberwock is an illusionary quest and set of goals. Concept art shows "The Jabberwocky and his spawn dominate a scene of fiery destruction, keeping with his allegorical position as the "Black Dragon" in his treasure-filled lair. The metaphorical representations here are at the core of Alice's internal battle."
- Queen of Hearts – Given that Alice is imagined as visiting her domain to represent anger, the Queen is certain to appear. Concept art shows that she will appear similarly to how she does in illustrations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Eventually, she merges with the Red Queen, and becomes a more attractive, yet eerie being with a pale, mask-like face, and grows tentacles. She eventually plots/begins to seize control over Wonderland, as per American McGee's Alice. Underneath this mask, Omri Koresh imagines her true face as young Alice constantly seeing the Fire, "because it's her guilt that's literally eating her alive".
- Red Queen – McGee mentioned on a livestream the merging of the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts may be explored in this game. Concept art depicts the Red King holding the Red Queen who seems to be dying in the middle of a chess battle. Other concept art imagines the Red Queen as resembling Alice's mother.
- White Rabbit – Given how popular he is and associated with Alice, the White Rabbit will likely appear.
- Mock Turtle – Concept art shows he is envisioned as being almost exactly like he was in Madness Returns, with the only difference is that he looks more sad and depressed than ever, probably due to the influence that the Depression domain has on him. However, this would be strange for a chronological perspective, making his appearance in AMA seem out-of-place.
- Caterpillar – A concept art reveals that the Caterpillar may be located inside a frozen lake.
- Carpenter – In Madness Returns, when Alice first arrives Dreary Lane Theatre, Carpenter greets her like they have met before. However, in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, the two never meet face-to-face. It is possible that Alice may have met Carpenter during Asylum and she may have had a memory wipe after.
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee – Given that the game takes place during Alice's stay at the Rutledge Asylum, and the Orderlies work there where they bullied her, it is likely that Tweedledum and Tweedledee will appear, since they are their Wonderland counterparts. Concept art shows them looking younger and smaller.
- Walrus –
- Gryphon – McGee mentioned the possibility of Gryphon transporting Alice around the world. This means there may be segments where the player controls Gryphon as Alice rides on his back in the sky. More time with Gryphon would also make his "death" in the first game more impactful for anyone who plays in the AA > AMA order.
- Duchess –
- Bill McGill –
- Humpty Dumpty –
Since the Alice series teaches players about the original novels, some "new" (albeit "old" to those who read the original novels) characters may include Mouse, Eaglet, Lory, Duck, Pat, Father William, Puppy, Pigeon, Frog Footman, Fish Footman, Lion, Unicorn, etc.
This is a guide for possible enemies.
Asylum is envisioned by McGee as a third person action-adventure, although he also entertained elements of stealth. Core mechanics include platforming, dress floating, pushing and pulling, shrinking and growing, time manipulation, weapon upgrading, zone-based unique mechanics, lock-on combat system, climbing and free jumping, and swimming. Puzzles and mini-games are also intended.
Asylum will likely continue "Alice using toys are weapons" concept. A Pocket Watch (perhaps the Deadtime Watch) is shown in concept art, and could be used to slow down time and help with combat and puzzles. Other ideas include:
- Jack-in-box (the return of the Jackbomb)
- Dice (new version of Demon Dice)
- Throwable cards (new version of Playing Cards)
- Stuffed flamingo
- Whipping top
- Spring fist
- Spring chick
- Ice Shaver
It is unknown if the game will have difficulty modes like previous games. Bosses will probably return, as many players were disappointed with the lack of them in Madness Returns.
McGee stressed that aspects like microtransactions and lootboxes do not fit the game.
McGee said that multiplayer is not of the question, although he is focusing on single-player for now. There could be a co-op mechanic with one playing controlling Alice and another controlling Cheshire Cat to solve puzzles, or as a means to give Alice support. However, given how Cat doesn't help Alice physically in the sequels, it does not make much sense for him to be a physical fighter. If playing alone, then Cat could be controlled by an AI, and there could be a character switch function. The possibility of a multi-player battle arena was also mentioned.
He is aiming for a 10-12 hours on a first playthrough, but emphasizes that these hours would be extremely polished to ensure these hours feel like a high-quality game with strong pacing. While some may feel 10-12 hours is short, McGee wants to make it so that the game does not feel bloated or too long, as many players complained that Madness Returns is too long. However, he also mentioned DLC extended missions and collectibles for those who want more replay value.
Ever since the release of Alice: Madness Returns, fans of the series have been wondering when Alice 3 would be released, or rather, the next Alice video game. McGee created two short films, Alice: Otherlands, with fans donating to it on Kickstarter. However, many fans were underwhelmed by Otherlands and McGee was still being flooded with e-mails about the next Alice game.
Fans created a petition directed at Electronic Arts, entitled, "Let American McGee make a new Alice game", which gained over 25,000 signatures since its creation. Meanwhile, another petition was created with the goal of "removing the series from the claws of EA" which received over 1,000 signatures.
McGee has had difficulty working with Electronic Arts. Since Madness Returns, the majority of Spicy Horse disbanded, so if Asylum is made, then it may be outsourced. However, he also mentioned the possibility of creating a new team from scratch, as McGee has connections with many game developers.
In 2016, EA told McGee that he needed a demo of the video game for them to consider. However, American McGee didn't have the funds or resources to produce a demo, and Electronic Arts apparently rejects a demo funded by crowdfunding like Kickstarter. Fans criticized EA's approach, as it meant the game would be caught in a Catch 22.
In 2017, McGee decided that Alice's time in Rutledge may be more interesting. He announced Alice: Asylum. McGee is currently trying to promote Asylum and get fan support. McGee is also collecting donations on Patreon in order to hire concept artists to create concept art for the game to boost popularity. A potential Kickstarter in October 2018 was put on hold.
McGee estimates the game will be developed along an almost 3 year schedule, in order to ensure a quality game that does not feel rushed. He is also floating a US$20 million budget.
In November 2018, McGee mentioned that the legal proceedings are going smoothly:
|“|| Again, lots of progress going on behind the scenes. I wish I could say more but... With Party X, who are responsible for the legal/license aspects of Alice: Asylum - there's been a healthy exchange of terms, outlines, and other necessary elements. With Party Y, of whom there are several, and who are responsible for funding, publishing, distribution of Alice: Asylum, also a healthy "flow" of necessary elements. And, as mentioned above, we're making solid progress on the physical (studio) and personnel (dev team) aspects of the new game(s). I do hope to have more tangible things to communicate to you all by early 2019.
In the comments section, when asked what McGee meant by his mysterious "game(s)" comment, he confirmed it was not a typo, saying, "There are several things going on... yes. More details as soon as I am able to share them. :)"
Note: All of this is concept art and does not necessarily represent anything final.
- Concept art for Asylum shows Alice's hair as being auburn brown like in American McGee's Alice, rather than black like in Alice: Madness Returns. Alice's hair color has been a bit of a debate, but it will likely be brown in the final game, due to the reasoning that if it were black, it would weird people out who play in the AA > AMA > AMR order, as it would shift from black, to brown, to black, although the brown probably won't be too bright for those who like Alice with black hair. McGee feels it is more important to be consistent with the established canon instead of abiding to preferences. He also explained how some people's hair darkens with time and aging.
- It is unknown if any voice actors, such as Susie Brann and Roger L. Jackson, would return to reprise their roles, or if Alice would receive a new voice actress with a more childish voice. Roger did say that he was hoping for a new Alice game and said he is hoping he would work on it.
- It is unknown if Alice will have domain dresses like in Madness Returns, or merely three (classic, ash, and "fire" ability), so as to not disappoint people with the lack of variety in American McGee's Alice and for those who play in the AA > AMA > AMR order. However, McGee said he knows many fans like the idea of multiple dresses, so he asked for concept art of possibilities, and there may be more in the final game.
- In concept art, Alice's dress symbols are sulfur and fire. Her necklace is a variant of the Symbol of Chaos.
- Despite that the game is currently a draft, chaos necklaces are already being sold.
- McGee does not want Alice to have a love interest or boyfriend in the game, saying he "fucking hates" the storyline of a man "completing" a woman's story and solving her problems, emphasizing Alice does not need a shoehorned love interest to complete her story and never will.
- McGee does not want Charles Dodgson mentioned or referenced in the game.
- McGee said he definitely wants a lava world in the game because lava is cool.
- McGee wants the game to have high detail to both the foregrounds and backgrounds of the environments.
- McGee mentioned that he would like to remaster/port American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns to the systems Alice: Asylum would be on so that players could have the trilogy available. Both games are already available on the PC and Xbox One, so this would likely be the PlayStation 4 and potentially Nintendo Switch.
- If successful, the game would feature Kian How Yoa as music composer. Chris Vrenna was mentioned as a possibility; he did the soundtrack of the first game and one song for Madness Returns.
- The concept of Alice: Asylum, as a video game, is a particularly unique one in that not many video games show the world through the eyes of a child (Among the Sleep is a particularly notable one). Children don't have strong grasps of topics such as logic, sexuality and death. Making a child's perspective game is also a particularly challenging one, as video games are mainly programmed by adults who abide by "2 + 2 = 4" logic instead of "2 + 2 = 22" logic. Asylum is even more unique in that it puts the players of a mentally ill comatose child with a hyperactive imagination from the Victorian era.
- There might be a Collector's Edition that includes one of four head bust figurines with the appearance of a chess piece, in which one would be able to get one of these four: Alice Liddell, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 American McGee. The Shape of Chaos. Retrieved on April 24, 2018.
- ↑ American McGee. A Glimpse of Wonderland. Retrieved on October 3, 2017.
- ↑ American McGee. The House of Fire and Furys. Retrieved on October 14, 2017.
- ↑ Spell Bound. Let American McGee make a new Alice game. Retrieved on October 26, 2015.
- ↑ We want Alice III (A third Alice video game).